The Mystery of the Yellow Room
An Act of Mademoiselle Stangerson
"You remember me, Monsieur?" asked Rouletabille.
"Perfectly!" replied Arthur Rance. "I recognise you as the lad at the bar. [The face of
Rouletabille crimsoned at being called a "lad."] I want to shake hands with you. You are
a bright little fellow."
The American extended his hand and Rouletabille, relaxing his frown, shook it and
introduced Mr. Arthur Rance to me. He invited him to share our meal.
"No thanks. I breakfasted with Monsieur Stangerson."
Arthur Rance spoke French perfectly,--almost without an accent.
"I did not expect to have the pleasure of seeing you again, Monsieur. I thought you were
to have left France the day after the reception at the Elysee."
Rouletabille and I, outwardly indifferent, listened most intently for every word the
American would say.
The man's purplish red face, his heavy eyelids, the nervous twitchings, all spoke of his
addiction to drink. How came it that so sorry a specimen of a man should be so intimate
with Monsieur Stangerson?
Some days later, I learned from Frederic Larsan--who, like ourselves, was surprised and
mystified by his appearance and reception at the chateau--that Mr. Rance had been an
inebriate for only about fifteen years; that is to say, since the professor and his daughter
left Philadelphia. During the time the Stangersons lived in America they were very
intimate with Arthur Rance, who was one of the most distinguished phrenologists of the
new world. Owing to new experiments, he had made enormous strides beyond the
science of Gall and Lavater. The friendliness with which he was received at the Glandier
may be explained by the fact that he had once rendered Mademoiselle Stangerson a great
service by stopping, at the peril of his own life, the runaway horses of her carriage. The
immediate result of that could, however, have been no more than a mere friendly
association with the Stangersons; certainly, not a love affair.
Frederic Larsan did not tell me where he had picked up this information; but he appeared
to be quite sure of what he said.
Had we known these facts at the time Arthur Rance met us at the Donjon Inn, his
presence at the chateau might not have puzzled us, but they could not have failed to